After our long, frigid winter of darkness, spring is finally settling over us. The change we all feel when standing in the sunlight on an early spring day as the chill gradually leaves our body and is replaced with a gentle warmth is akin to what it feels like in our home this past several days. Perhaps the last storm has passed, we might just have a few rain showers but the worst of it might just be over.
A comfortable ease has settled in, becoming more and more obvious with each passing day. While still not there 100% of the time, we find ourselves feeling more and more like the family we imagined ourselves becoming long ago. I look at Angela and Olesya before me and see my daughters, and they see their Mama. I don't know exactly how or when this transition firmly took place, but it has happened in God's time and is a wonderful gift. Sometime during this past week we ceased to be strangers living under the same roof, we stopped tip toeing around each other, and we began to take pleasure in each others presence in ways we had not felt comfortable doing prior. There have been enough shared common experiences to recall and laugh over, the newness has worn off and there is no doubt now on either side that the people we see before us are the genuine article, and we all actually like what we are seeing.
I think we "arrived" here in record time. I think we are blessed to have the prayers of so many following us. I think God worked a miracle here on a grand scale.
Today as the girls and I were alone for much of the morning while Matt had state testing and the boys were in school, the familiarity became evident. I felt so right about everything, I felt like I was mothering my kids and could now be fully their mom without fear of rejection or reprisal. There was no touchiness there, no distance...and there was unspoken communication and understanding that comes with all good relationships as people grow closer to one another. Angela and Olesya both have been a sheer delight to be with, moving beyond wanting to be helpful out of courteousness to wanting to be side by side with me as we talk and share our lives. Tonight, for the first time, Angela grabbed a game out of the game closet and came to me at the table, ignoring Dominick on the couch and asked "Mama...play?". We then proceeded to play a word bingo game, then moved on to Uno as various others joined us for a round here or there.
Yesterday was a day of more revelations about life before adoption, before the orphanage. There is this strong need for Angela in particular to share about her life and yet not enough language there to fully reveal all her heart seems to want to trust me with. She has compared me 3 or 4 times to her biological mother, brought up alcohol several times, and there is no longer a "bite" or an effort to outdo me or gently push me aside.
The danger in all of this though, is the these revelations about what happened to my dear daughters prior to joining our family now hurt more, they have the ability to bring about a mother's wrath...the power is there more strongly than ever because real love is now pushing out the "fake it until you make it" love.
I am so very sorry it is taking so long to post, I am trying but I am so mentally tired by the end of the day that I don't have the "ooomph" to do it. I have been doing hours and hours of online researching about homeschooling, trying to see what our future might look like and how I will carve out a curriculum that makes sense eventually. I am uncomfortable until I have a firm grasp on what it is we want to accomplish and a rough idea of how that will happen.
I have homework myself that needs to be tended to but I can't seem to get my mind in the zone yet, and fear I might utterly flop this semester. But doing what I am doing now is clearing out space for other thoughts, so I guess I need to do things in this order.
There is a lot going on around here, as you might well imagine, and much of it is subtle. Joshua is on our floor sleeping every night, last night starting out in his own bed and ending up in our room after a bad dream about a fire in our house. He brought that same dream up this afternoon in conversation, so we are keeping a close eye on his emotional state right now. In every other way he appears to be doing great, but he hasn't really completely felt settled to me since before our trip. Such a little guy, he is affected so very deeply by all that happens.
Language is bursting here, and the new words of the week are "yep" and "nope" which totally cracked me up the first time Angeal said them and now both she and Olesya are using it all the time. The other one that struck me in a tender way was Angela referring to herself saying "She doesn't know!" when trying to make decisions or understand something. Pronouns are a challenge, but something about the accent and the shrug of her shoulders as she says it just gets me every time. Olesya's stutter is becoming more evident as she reaches for new words but plunges ahead with great vigor in her new language. The level of receptive language now is staggering, and the out put is growing exponentially by the day and is fun to watch and listen to.
I wonder where my day has gone between laundry and library and learning. At times I feel like a total flop as nothing appears to be accomplished when looking from the outside inward, but when looking from the inside out there are amazing changes taking place. Being alert to everything, working on language 24/7 in ways that do not appear to be "school" but are terribly important for language acquisition is beyond exhausting. I am always looking for ways to incoporate new vocbulary words multiple times throughout our days. I am having to be inventive about ways to explain new situations, envirnments and experiences with the limited language we have available to us. I am having to observe carefully all that is going on to assess where gaps in life experiences might be, then find creative ways to fill those gaps so we have the proper building blocks for new learning. It is HARD to do this!!! It is also very, very rewarding to see the light bulb appear as new concepts are grasped and connections are made.
I have tried many times over the past several days to put all of this in words that would adequately express the depth of all that is happening. Guess what...I can't! There is so much happening every hour that I can't work fast enough to record it in my brain, let alone blog about it. I know I am supposed to be "steering" but the truth is that in many ways right now, I am merely along for the ride.
We are seeing real growth in both girls as they learn how to explore and play. Gradually they are letting go and trying new things without prompting. Angela built a little model fort out of branches from our tree the other day. Olesya is taking ownership of her new life as she moves about the house in a quiet familiarity now that is nice to see. Both are reading more and we bought clamp on lamps for their beds as they were using flashlights to read by. They love looking at catalogs and other books with pictures.
And there is so much I have regrettably left out which I wish I could manage to record, but am sitting here in a stupor and so tired I can't begin to do it. I'll try to do better over the next few days, I will try and blog more regularly for if I take too long, it is gone and out of my head as we move forward at lightning speed into this new life.
I'll try and find time to post more this weekend and add photos. In the meantime, your continued prayers are helping and we gratefully thank you so much. Sorry for the less than stellar blog post tonight, I'll try and do better next time!